Ingrid Jungermann and Desiree Akhavan on “The Slope” and writing funny lesbian jokes


AE: How much of the writing is based on real life instances/conversations you’ve had?
I think it’s completely based on real life. We just kick it up a few notches, make it heightened reality and exaggerate our personalities. The character of “Ingrid” is me, but the most intense parts of me — the me I hang out with when no one else is around.

DA: I’m usually inspired by something that comes up in life. About a year ago I was looking through GO magazine with friends and we were mildly horrified by all the matching twin brides. I found the situation absurd: a room full of lesbians grossed out at the unnatural sight of two feminine women getting married to each other. So I stored it away and it became the basis for “Top/Bottom.”

AE: What did the Kickstarter money enable you do with Season 2 that you were hoping for?
Kickstarter allowed us to hire people to do the jobs we were doing on our own. It was way too challenging for us to write, produce, direct, act and edit. I think the show is smarter now because we can focus on the creative part. Erin Harper did the impossible last season alongside us. The three of us would hustle around and get what we could. Now we’ve hired Frances Bodomo (producer), Laura Terruso and Ed Barnes (camera), Greg Mailloux (sound) and Sarah-Violet Bliss (editor) and it’s really because of those folks that we’re able to make this season more nuanced.

DA: It’s a completely different filming experience! Season 1 was mostly shot with a crew of three. We did a good deal of “winging it.” Now we can afford to hire a cinematographer, sound mixer and producer. I think it’s improved the quality of the episodes because we have the luxury of being able to focus on the performances. Additionally, because there’s a small crew present, we come into the shoots more prepared.

AE: How has fan response been? Do you get recognized around Park Slope?
Fantastic. People are so supportive — teachers and fellow students at NYU, strangers online, even my mother wanted to give it a thumbs up on the Huffington Post but couldn’t figure out how.

I think it’s assumed that we are only speaking to lesbians, which is really important to me, but it’s also important we don’t preach to the choir. Once people outside of the community watch, they realize it speaks to them and their relationship issues, too. Especially the strap-on episode.

I do live in Park Slope and I do get recognized. I think my most memorable time was when I was biking to Williamsburg and a car full of lesbians waved and shouted “We pledged!” out the window. I was also in line at the coop eating sushi — which is a huge rule violation and I could get fired for even mentioning it — and a girl in front of me recognized me and we chatted. I always get recognized when I look terrible, though, so I’m not sure what that says about me.

DA: I live in Bedstuy, and I never get recognized. I’m going to assume that it’s because my foxy good looks intimidate the masses, while Ingrid represents the more approachable “dyke next door.” Most likely it’s because everyone who watches thinks I’m an asshole.

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